The groom got a new job! Due to cut backs at his previous company, he had been laid off and has been looking for work and slowly returning to school over the last 15 months. This, obviously, put a huge kink in our wedding plans. However, we focused on planning and idea gathering. Unfortunately, we had pretty much run out of cost free things to do and put the wedding on the back burner for months.

A couple months ago a fellow bandmate informed Josh of an opening at the company he works for. Josh submitted a resume for two positions, was given a great recommendation from his bandmate and did great in his interviews. We found out just before New Years that he'd been accepted for the position of delivery driver! He didn't start until this week, but the mere fact that we'll have that other income has been a huge weight off of our shoulders. Similarly, we've seen many of our friends loose jobs over the past two years as the economy bottomed out. I'm happy to report that nearly all of those individuals have found new jobs. Things are looking up for us and our fellow Americans.

It will take a couple months to get back on our feet, but we're both eager to renew our wedding activities. Thanks to everyone that passed along job ads and hugs during our hardest time!
 
 
My parents were generous enough to gift us a new sewing machine. We didn't have one and were in contact with a couple Freecyclers to pick up used ones, which we would hope worked. However, that didn't seem to be panning out and I was growing nervous that we wouldn't have a machine in time to make the 90-100 cloth napkins that we'd desired. Then, along came Christmas.

Now, this holiday is a funny one for both me and Josh. Neither of us are Christian, nor do we believe in a singular god. However, our families do. We grew up celebrating most Christian holidays along with our families and the masses of marketed Americans. For us, these holidays are times for us to gather around the people with whom we share mutual love, support and respect. We're hardcore Santa fans who enjoy going the extra mile for the kids in our families and we both enjoy giving special gifts to our friends and family.

This year, we were having heightened spats with both our parents. The stress and uncertainty of our household finances and other factors was weighing in on both sides. We decided to escape our families for both Thanksgiving and Christmas to spend some quality time alone together, reenergizing and renewing our commitment to each other. At the same time, we were both unsettled with the recent upsets in our families and longed to see lights at the end of both tunnels. My parents gave us that light when they made the first move- they gave us a sewing machine for Christmas. This was their silent way of showing that they accepted our choice to get married and were offering some support.

Although I was extremely relieved to see this white flag, I wasn't quite sure how to react to it. Should we pretend like everything was okay all of a sudden? Should we say "thank you", then go back into hiding? Luckily, my dad summoned up the courage to put the first hand forward. He called Josh and invited us to come over to their house for dinner- just two days before. My brother came into town and the five of us enjoyed dinner and games together. Though the evening started out with everyone on eggshells, we were laughing and hugging by the night's end. My parents both warmed up to Josh, this time without any delusions on either side, and my dad even invited us to come snowboarding with him.

I knew they'd come around in time, and we both agree that there's still plenty more space to make up between all of us before we become a solid family, but we both really happy to see these things happening before our wedding. Who knew a sewing machine could stitch a family together?
 
 
About a month ago I connected with another bride, Ariel, in southern California on a fantastic bridal-networking site called Offbeat Bride Tribe (named after the founder's book, Offbeat Bride).  She was past her wedding and had a veil to give away. I was lucky enough to have her ship it to me for free and it arrived today! It's a "blunt edge (faux) pearl veil" that's been attached to a clear hair comb (the kind you'd use to keep your hair back, not to actually comb it). I'll post photos later, but here's something similar:
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Ideally, I'd like to make my own short birdcage or bandeau/venetian birdcage veil, but with all the projects we have to finish, it's nice to know that I have a back-up in case the DIY version doesn't work out.
 
 
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I just read the recent blog on Offbeat Bride about using salt and pepper shaker as cake toppers. I found a pair I think would be friggin awesome for our tree stump wedding cake- kissing frogs! Plus, at about $9 we'd be getting something that we can use daily or for special occasions, too! The groom isn't willing to admit that he loves the idea as it is somewhat corny, but I have about 11 months to win him over.

 
 
The ladies and I will be doing either felt or cloth flowers for my bouquet and their corsages. The guys will also create their own boutonnieres, which will have felt/cloth leaves and guitar pick flowers. Although I've seen plenty of fabric flowers made into broaches or hair clips, I haven't seen them as bouquets. I wonder if that's because the fabric tends to flop around or lay down, and if that can be remedied using starch or by dipping them in some kind of glue. I'll experiment with that later. In the meantime, I wanted to give the felt flowers a try. Below is my first attempt. I wasn't looking at any online instructions when I did this and the flower initially started out as flat, stiff petals. I wanted more of a natural look (although flat layered flowers would be neat for an all-lego or 16-bit wedding), so I weaved one thread through each layer, bunching the layer as I went. Next time, I'll try one of the many instructions I found online.

So, I tried making a cloth flower the same way I did the felt one. It's harder to cut he petals with cloth because it constantly moves. I think these come out more delicate and can be made fuller with more petals, but they would definitely have to start out starched.

In these photos, the felt is on the left and the cloth is on the right. I just used what scraps I had (100% cotton), so the colors aren't what we'd end up with.
 
 
Last weekend Josh had the great idea to hit up a local used bookstore.  I patronized one all the time when I was a kid, but somehow forgot about them as I grew up.  We stopped by Beers Books on S Street in Sacramento to find that they were having a great sidewalk sale - fifty cents for paperbacks and one dollar for hardbacks.  He picked up some casual reading material, I grabbed a couple books for my niece and Vice Bride, and snuck in a few wedding books.  But, the biggest score of the day was the kick-ass vintage-style wedding planner pictured above.  It was printed in 1980 (Josh's birth year), has victorian images and writing, is somewhat aged and beat on the outside, but totally clean of all use on the inside, and offers history, advice and great organization tools.  We like it so much, we won't so much as write in pencil in the book.  Instead, we're making copies of the pages we know we'll have to edit a few times before the big day, and will fill it as a final momento once we have all our details worked out.  Far less complicated and way more retro than any other planner we've seen, this book both fits our "green" theme and has the romantic look that we desire.
 
 
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Yesterday Josh and I returned from an annual camping trip which we spent with two of the families my family is closest with.  The twentieth Austin-Frost camp-out was set at the Lodgepole Campground of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, two enormous parks which lie side-by-side in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and cover 865,258 acres of land. There is so much to see and do in the parks that we couldn't possibly exhaust our options in just one trip.  Over the four days we swam in the Kaweah River (very low in parts at this time of year), hiked to the Tokopah Falls, enjoyed a historical talk at the top of Morrow Rock, viewed the General Sherman Tree (a beautiful sequoia and the world's largest tree), and even had some close encounters with deer, bears and a coyote.  Though the "seniors" in our camp enjoyed the conveniences of the RVs they worked hard to obtain, Josh and I borrowed a tent from my parents and an air mattress from my uncle (luxury, to us), choosing to sleep in privacy and comfort.


During the trip, my parents each mentioned something about Josh and I going camping more in the future.  We'd snuck off for a weekend at a nearby lake during our first summer together, but hadn't been able to make it back to nature since.  At the end of our trip, we were once again making promises to ourselves to camp more often, yearning for the chance to return to the forrest before we'd even exited the parks.  My dad was kind enough to give us the tent he lent us for our weekend trip two years ago.  I guess he figured that we'd probably borrow it again anyways, plus they have two RVs and two more tents to their names.  It was a very thoughtful gesture, and got me brainstorming about all the many things we'd need to go camping regularly.


By the time we got home, I'd convinced Josh that we should change our honeymoon plans from staying in a tree-house hotel near Seattle, Oregon, to camping in one or more places over a 7-10 day span.  It seemed to me that the overall cost would be less, which would mean that we could stay longer and do more than if we paid for a special "hotel" room.  I'm sure we'll check out the tree-house hotel sometime in the future, but camping would be a more economical, ecological and sensible choice to help us build great memories for the start of our married lives.  So, basically, we're throwing all the information we had for our honeymoon out the window and starting from scratch!  Josh would like to determine (and book) the places we'll go well before the wedding, but I'm up for just winging it (a definite role reversal).

This somewhat dramatic change in plans also helped us get some direction in relation to our registry choices. Originally, we thought we'd forgo all the housewares and simply set up a honeymoon registry, which would allow our friends and loved-ones to contribute to our memories by purchasing things for us like snorkeling lessons or one night of our hotel stay.  Since we'd both had previous roommates and have been living together for over a year now, there's not much that we need for our home.  Sure, some people see their wedding as an opportunity to at least upgrade their current wares, but not us (we may joke about going completely luxury if we hit the lottery, but we're really more hippies at heart.). We'll be fine with mismatched silverware and scratched-up furniture; as long as our items function and can be made to look decent, we'll try to stay humble about our needs.  Nonetheless, there is a small list of items that we are reluctant to pass on.  For those, we'll probably set up one traditional registry at Target or some other retailer which is easy to access around the nation.  However, in lieu of the more commonplace honeymoon registries out there, which only offer trips to places where we'd have to stay in a hotel or bed-and-breakfast, we're going to set up a kind of registry on our site that will allow guests to help us build our first "camp box" (typically one large container which holds all one needs to go camping- everything from large items like the tent to small accessories like coffee mugs).  Since we're focusing on having a "green" wedding, we're going to encourage everyone to give or purchase gently-used items whenever possible.

 
 

Many great things have happened in the last month.  My one-year review at work went great, Josh finally had his shoulder surgery, and we got a bump in income that allowed us to check off some items from an important to-do list.  This seems to be that time in our friend's lives when everyone is settling down with "the one", so there are lots of ideas and wedding bells floating about.  We watched a couple friends get married in May, and have two weddings (one week apart!) to attend in August.  Funny how life has cycles like that.  However, being that the spring and summer seasons are socially the second busiest time of the year around here, we've been busy working on our house and hosting/attending friends and family.

With a few more things on our calendar for this summer (including my birthday- 28, ouch!), I've realized that we won't get any wedding preparation done if we don't take the time to refocus.  We're clearing out the garage (black widows included- eek!) and making room for our supplies.  One of my bridesmaids is coming over to experiment with cupcake and cookie flavors (for our dessert table) this week. I've contacted one of my favorite bands, The Features, about the possibility of them playing at our reception. I'm begining to feel re-energized about getting this all together! With the help of our friends, family and neighbors, I really believe we can accomplish this without breaking the bank.  And, we plan to pass on our materials and supplies to future brides and grooms.

 
 
Shaine, Josh's Best Man, joined us for a picnic and site planning session at our choice location, the Auburn Library's garden amphitheater. Scrumptious sandwiches and heavy wedding planning book in tow, we enjoyed the short drive northeast of Sacramento.  Josh and I had found this somewhat secretive spot almost a year prior, but we took few pictures at the time.  Being a stickler, I wanted to be sure that our plans were realistic for the size and setting.  It turned out to be both a beautiful and productive day.  Shaine, ever the supportive friend, let me gush out most of our ideas for the wedding, walked around the site answering inquiries about what should go where, and even provided some fantastic suggestions to help keep us calm and collected on the big day.  Nonetheless, for me to be sure that this is the right sight (although the $50 rental fee and convenient amenities are hard to argue), we'll have to return this October to see how the foliage will look around our wedding date. What do you think of the site?
 
 

For those who don't know us, we both lost our jobs over a year ago.  When that happened, we could have never imagined that things would get to be so hard.  Fortunately, Tarah landed a great job with a local non-profit within a few months.   However, Josh is still searching for his break.  In the meantime, he's returned to college to pursue a career in video game developement (the long-term goal), while taking courses to be a certified solar panel installer (for short-term success).

Origionally, we expected to get married in as little as one year.  However, our economic situation did not permit that.  Determined to let our love shine for all to see, we pulled out our book of general wedding ideas and started filtering through it, putting everything through a sive to strain out the expensive options.  We've been searching for ideas, weighing out time lines, workloads and costs for months, embracing the D.I.Y. ("Do It Yourself") concept wherever possible.

Now that we've pulled ourselves into a better financial situation, we're starting to move forward in the planning process.  Creating this website was the first step to the long-term gathering of our supplies.  The second step has been to make room in our garage and attack for anything we're able to collect.  We're still in the process of clearing out clothing donations that we gathered for Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and W.E.A.V.E. through the Clothes & Kitchen Swap that we hosted months ago.  When we're free of the clutter (which should be soon), we'll start posting ads for the items we need on Yahoo! Freecycle Groups in our area.

As for making plans, we're currently inquiring with various organizations and companies regarding their services.  All of our helpers (wedding party, friends and family) are being notified of our progress and duties are being delegated.  Sites for the ceremony, reception and honeymoon are being scouted and we hope to have places booked within the next six months.  This blog will help keep all of our friends, family and followers up to date with our progress.  Check back each month to see what else we've come up with!

 
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    What's our story?

    Tarah works for Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and has been living in Sacramento for nearly all of her earthly years. She lead a mostly uneventful life, though she always had a love of written, visual and performance art, holds an interest in politics and still can't resist animals.  Josh is a former punk rock musician who is back in college, volunteers with the Sacramento SPCA and blogs about the video gaming industry at 1Up.Com(Electronic Gaming Monthly). He was born in California and traveled around, mostly growing up in  Reno, NV and Southern Oregon.  With his band, he toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe. After the disolvement of his band and a couple years of contemplation, the groom moved from Portland, OR, down to sunny Sacramento.  A month later, the bride found his platonic ad on Craigslist. He was looking for locals who could show him around town, and Tarah knew just the right places to go. The two started a wonderful friendship that blossomed into the unbreakable relationship they enjoy today.  They share strong values for equality amongst people, humane treatment for animals, using diplomacy before voilence, and respectful care of the environment through personal responsibilty and accountability.

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